Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adelaide North Terrace Cultural Precinct

My last day in South Australia I spent in the Adelaide North Terrace Cultural Precinct. North Terrace runs east west on the northern edge of the Adelaide central business district, next to the Torrens River. Within a kilometer along the terrace are campuses of the Universities of Adelaide and South Australia, the State Library, Museum and Art Gallery.

I stayed in the Hotel Richmond, which is located in an arcade between the main shopping precinct (Rundle Mall) at the front and North Terrace behind.

On the next corner is the Centre for Defence Communications & Information Networking (DSIC), where I met the director, Dr Bruce Northcote who was giving a talk that evening to the ACS. The previous evening I had given a talk on how the IT industry could help defence. The building housing DSIC has a learning commons on the ground floor, with informal computer equipped meeting spaces for students.

As befits a high technology university building, the one housing DSIC had the most complicated lift buttons I have ever seen: to call am lift, rather than pressing a button for "up", you enter the floor you wish to go to. Presumably the lift control system then optimises the traffic.

I walked through the Adelaide University grounds to the banks of the Torrens Rive, where there are kilometres of cycling and walking tracks. A short walk up the river and around the corner was the State Library of South Australia. In the cafe I happened across Dr Genevieve Bell , Intel Fellow, Digital Home Group Director, User Experience Group, Intel Corporation, who talked in Canberra last week.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

ScreenACT Project Pod

ScreenACT Project Pod has 24 places available for the first phase in helping Canberra based digital content developers, with entries closing 10.00am 29th March 2010. The project is designed along similar lines to the InnovationACT annual event run by the ANU. There is a nine page "Project Pod: Application Form and Guidelines" avialable, as well as Key Dates and FAQs about the project.

ScreenAct Vision

ScreenACT offers support with the general aim of helping to develop the local screen industry, thereby enhancing the ACT production industry’s capabilities and employment opportunities.

Project Pod Aim

Project Pod is a professional and project development opportunity that aims to build capability in screen project development, increase networks, and support a group of targeted projects through to a market-­‐ready stage.

The program has four main phases, which start with broad learning goals, then narrow down, focussing on key teams to help them refine their projects to the point that they are ready to take to market. As part of this, several top projects will receive extra funding.

Guiding Principles Screen

ACT supports:

  • the film, video production, TV and digital media industries.
  • projects that are intended to result in commercial or business focused outcomes.
  • applicants who have started their careers and can demonstrate professional experience.

ScreenACT will give preference to:

  • participants who show a commitment to the six-­‐month process.
  • projects intended for production and post production in the ACT and Capital Region.
  • applications that are professional in their presentation, thought and execution.


About ScreenAct Project Pod

The ScreenACT Project Pod is a six-­‐month program that is open to all professional screen practitioners (individuals and teams) in the ACT/Capital Region. It consists of four phases:

  • Phase One – Two workshops
  • Phase Two – One-­‐on-­‐one project development
  • Phase Three – Industry Feedback and future project plans
  • Phase Four – ScreenACT Grants allocated to as many as four selected projects Selection for the Project Pod is competitive.

Phase One will include up to 24 participants. Phases Two through Four will have up to ten participants.

Project Pod will be led by a number of different providers, and tailored to the needs of the individual participants based on their project’s format and genre.

  • Phase One will be delivered by Stephen Cleary, who is an international script consultant and developer, and by ScreenACT
  • Phases Two and Three to be delivered by local developers with oversight and input from Stephen Cleary and
  • Phase Four delivered by ScreenACT.

All participants for all phases to be selected by an industry panel, with ScreenACT acting as secretariat, and with the sign-­‐off of the CEO of Canberra Business Council on final participants and funding.

Phase One costs participants $600 for the two workshops. The first workshop is over four days, and the second over two. Phases Two through Four have no participation cost.

The program covers narrative and story, introduction to development practice, pitching and presentation skills, introduction to producing, networking with industry professionals and Screen Australia representatives, and one-­‐on-­‐one professional development assistance on a project basis.

Project Pod projects can come from film, television or digital media industries. ScreenACT will consider projects that include but are not limited to:

  • Feature films, television drama series, mini-­‐series, telemovies, broadcast length documentary, television documentary series, reality TV series and digital media projects.
  • ScreenACT will NOT consider the development or production of TV commercials, corporate videos, or training videos

PLEASE NOTE: As this is the pilot ScreenACT Project Pod, ScreenACT reserves the rights to make changes to the project as deemed necessary. ...

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must be residents of the ACT or Capital Region (as shown on the map on ScreenACT’s website:

Applicants must have started their careers and be able to demonstrate some degree of professional experience.

Applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia, and be 18 years old or older.

Applicants can be individuals or up to a team of two. The team leader must attend all sessions. The second team member is expected to attend all sessions, however there is some flexibility on this issue.

Applicants must be the producer, director, and/or writer of the project. Applicants must also be the copyright holder, or have an option to the rights in any and all works on which the project is based. The charge for phase one is per person regardless of individual or team status....

Key Dates

Applications openFriday, 19th March, 2010
Applications closeMonday 29th March, 2010 – 10.00am
Phase One successful applications announcedThursday 1st April, 2010
Phase One: First Project Pod Workshop (4 days)Friday 23rd – Monday 26th April, 2010
Phase One: Second Project Pod Workshop (2 days)Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd May, 2010
Revised treatment dueFriday 14th May, 2010 – 5.00pm
Phase Two successful applications announcedFriday, 28th May, 2010
Phase Three Workshop (1 day)Saturday, 19th June, 2010
Delivery of agreed project deliverablesFriday 1st October, 2010 – 5.00pm
Phase Four Workshop (3 days)Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th October, 2010


Assessment Criteria

In assessing applications, the ScreenACT Assessment Committee will mark applications against the following criteria:

  • Qualification under the general guidelines and guiding principles
  • Originality and strength of concept
  • Commercial viability of the project
  • The strength of the creative team
  • Commitment to the entire process
  • Likelihood of the project proceeding into production


From: Project Pod: Application Form and Guidelines, ScreenACT, 19 March 2010

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections

The Australian Library and Information Association is hosting a symposium on "Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections" (registration) with Blue Shield Australia & DISACT, 6 May 2010 at the National Library of Australia, in Canberra.

Recently the International Council on Archives passed on a request to the international community for assistance in preserving the cultural heritage of Haiti. In addition to physical work to shore up buildings damaged in the recent earthquake and to remove cultural materials to safety the Statement of Requirements identified the need for IT staff and equipment to assist in digitising and recording cultural materials. When visiting Samoa to teach information technology for Museum staff, I heard of instances where artefacts were removed to "safety" because of a disaster, but were never seen again. As there were no good records, it was not possible to know what was missing or if it was stolen, or mislaid in a warehouse somewhere. Thus the need for records.
Developing updated guidelines for environmental conditions in collecting institutions
Julian Bickersteth
Guidelines for environmental conditions in collecting institutions have for the past 40 years or so been defined within fairly narrow parameters. ...
AICCM has established a Taskforce to develop guidelines for Australian conditions based on current international standards, which are changing as a result of these pressures. Julian Bickersteth is the chair of the Taskforce and will be detailing the progress that has been made to date on developing these guidelines ....

AICCM Victorian Division’s Response to the Victorian Bushfires of 2009: After Disaster Struck.
Alexandra Ellem
This paper presents key aspects of AICCM’s response to communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires and the unique role conservation can play regarding disaster response and cultural heritage. ...

Centre for the National Museum of Australia Collections: a proposal for sustainable collections storage and management.
Greer Gehrt and Eric Archer
The National Museum of Australia (NMA) recently completed a functional design brief for the design and development of new storage and collection management facilities for the National Historical Collection.
As part of this process, the NMA has undertaken extensive studies into the use of passive building technologies. ...

Alert But Not Alarmed: A decade of the Disasters ACT Network.
Bernard Kertesz
DISACT (the DISasters ACT network) is a network of disaster preparedness practitioners operating in south-eastern New South Wales and centred in the Australian Capital Territory. Although largely driven, resourced and enabled by the major Commonwealth cultural collecting institutions, the network participants represent more than 25 Commonwealth, ACT Government and private sector organisations. ...

Meeting and Reporting “Conservation Standards” for Environmental Conditions; The Government’s Key Performance Indicators Versus The Real World
Jennifer Lloyd
It is not unreasonable that the Commonwealth Government expects the custodianship of the nation’s heritage collections to be a responsible one. Maximising the life expectancy of these collections is a priority for all cultural collecting institutions. ...

Blue Shield Australia - Building Disaster Resilience into the Australian and Asia-Pacific Heritage Sectors
Detlev Lueth
The Blue Shield is the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross. The distinctive emblem was specified by the UNESCO’s 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. It is also the name of the International Committee of Blue Shield (ICBS), set up in 1996 to advise UNESCO on the protection of the world's cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural
disasters. With the permission of the ICBS in 2005 Blue Shield Australia was established. BSA’s vision is to influence disaster preparedness and emergency management in Australia in order to ensure the
preservation of cultural heritage within Australia’s areas of responsibility and influence. ...

Not If But When! Some Observations on Collection Disaster Preparedness Around Australia.
Kim Morris
Disaster planning for collections has been a feature of cultural activity in collecting institutions in Australia since 1985 when the National Library suffered a serious and devastating fire. Major national and state institutions recognised the need to prepare for collection disasters and began developing
response and recovery plans. ...

AICCM and a National Response Network
Kay Söderlund
Spurred on by the year that saw the Victorian bush fires and the Queensland floods, AICCM has started work on a project to develop a National Response Network in order to more effectively help communities and museums that have been devastated by disasters. Kay Söderlund, National President of AICCM, will briefly outline the project and the plan for the coming year. ...

Planning for Floods in a Drought: Cooperative Regional Responses to Disasters
Roger Trudgeon
The secret to good risk management is planning to deal with events that you would normally deem to be impossible. In the midst of the state’s worst drought in years, the Gold Museum, Ballarat was flooded on New Year’s Day in 2007. In the context of climate change and the increasing likelihood of extreme weather events it is essential to think ahead as to how we face such catastrophes. ...

From: Paper abstracts and biographies, Disaster Proofing Heritage Collections, Australian Library and Information Association, 2010

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Roundtable: Freedom and control in the Australian internet

Fibreculture will have a roundtable on "Freedom and control in the Australian internet". 16 December in Sydney. I found about this event while walking down King Street in Sydney and bumped into Chris Chesher. Technology has its limits. ;-)
The first meeting is an open roundtable, chaired by fibreculture facilitators, and will be an extension of discussions on the new fibreculture web forum. This physical event will begin with the opportunity for those who posted to the online forum to make opening statements, and will transition towards a themed open discussion.

Read Group Themes

Admission is free, but you must join the freedom and control group.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Adult digital media literacy needs

The Australian Communications and Media Authority report "Adult digital media literacy needs" (1 October 2009) has found a significant number of Australians are missing out on the benefits of the Internet, due to a lack of skills and motivation. ACMA are concerned by this as these people will be left behind as digital media becomes more important.

This has public policy implications. It is very easy for a government body to assume that if they provide information or a service via the web, then everyone can use it. ACMA's solution seems to be extra education of the digitally illiterate for this minority. But this may not always be possible and there are other options. It is likely that there will continue to be people who are unable, or unwilling, to use digital media (including those who do not find it of use). One reason Roger Clarke and myself suggested providing Internet access at public libraries was that these facilities are staffed with highly trained information professionals to can help the public with information access (called "librarians"). There will be a continuing need for such people.

ACMA's suggestions for convincing people to use digital media appear at best naive and misguided. What ACMA seem to have in mind is a public information campaign to try to convince people to use the Internet. The Australian government is currently spending billions of dollars on programs to provide digital education for everyone from school children to senior citizens. It seems unlikely that a "Where have you been online today?" campaign will add much to this or be a good use of public money.

Also ACMA cannot be too smug about its own information literacy, as they way they have provided their report is not exactly best practice for online information distribution. The report is provided as a monolithic 63 page electronic facsimile of a printed report in PDF (452 kb) and Microsoft Word (704 kb). Neither of these is easy to read online and contain a copyright notice which seems to be designed to discourage their use. The PDF version of the document has security set to prevent copying of text from the document, this is a pointless encumbrance which makes discussion of the document more difficult, without increasing security in any way.

From the report:


Executive summary

  • Background to research
  • Objectives of the research
  • Research methodology
  • Key findings
  • Attitudes towards different digital media
  • Overarching reasons for limited usage
  • Awareness of the benefits of using digital media
  • Overarching attitudes among non- and limited users
  • Barriers relating to the low usage patterns of digital media
  • Attitudinal segmentation
  • ‘Resistors’
  • ‘Defensive’
  • ‘Thirsty’
  • ‘Potential Transitioners’
  • ‘Economisers’
  • Summary of the attitudes of the segments
  • Suggested ways of encouraging take-up of digital media by non- and limited users
  • Specific communication needs of each segment
  • ‘Resistors’ and ‘Defensive’
  • ‘Thirsty’
  • ‘Potential Transitioners’
  • ‘Economisers’

Background to the research

  • Overview
  • The need for research

Research objectives

  • Research objectives


  • Overview
  • Sample
  • Rationale for sample
  • Digital media usage
  • Comfort levels with digital media
  • Life stage
  • Reasons for non- or limited usage of digital media
  • Socio-economic background
  • Location
  • Gender
  • People from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • Disability
  • Recruitment of respondents
  • Discussion guides
  • Research timing

Current attitudes towards digital media

  • The importance of the internet and mobile phones
  • Usage patterns of different digital media
  • Non- users’ usage patterns
  • Case study: David
  • Limited users’ usage patterns
  • Case study: Leanne’s usage patterns of digital media

Overarching attitudes towards developing digital media literacy

  • Descriptions of people who are heavy and light users of digital media
  • Descriptions of the ‘heavy’ user of digital media
  • Descriptions of the ‘light’ user of digital media
  • Overarching attitudes and reasons for limited usage
  • Difficulty in understanding why usage should be a priority
  • Perception that it is too difficult to change their ways
  • Awareness of the benefits of using digital media
  • Key driver affecting digital media usage
  • Barriers relating to the low usage patterns of digital media
  • Low usage of digital media on a day-to-day basis
  • Lack of understanding of the underlying assumptions about how digital media work
  • Lack of understanding of the commonplace language and terminology associated with digital media
  • Hierarchy of skills, knowledge and understanding
  • Importance of developing an understanding of digital media

Attitudinal segmentation

  • Attitudes towards becoming more digital media literate
  • Descriptions of the attitudinal segments
  • Case study: ‘Resistor’
  • Case study: ‘Defensive’
  • Case study: ‘Thirsty’
  • Case study: ‘Potential Transitioner’
  • Case study: ‘Economiser’
  • ‘Active’ versus ‘passive’ decision making

Suggested ways of encouraging each segment to engage with digital media

  • Overview
  • Specific communication needs of each segment
  • ‘Resistors’ and ‘Defensive’
  • ‘Thirsty’
  • ‘Potential Transitioners’
  • ‘Economisers’
  • Summary of communication needs of each segment

Findings and recommendations

  • Summary of findings
  • Researchers’ recommendations

  • Appendix A—References
  • Appendix B—Recruitment screeners
  • Appendix C—Discussion guide
  • Hierarchy of skills, knowledge and understanding

Adapted from: Adult digital media literacy needs, ACMA, August 2009

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Australian Indigenous Languages Database

AUSTLANG The Australian Indigenous Languages Database was launched at the National Indigenous Studies Conference today. One of my former students at ANU worked on this
The AUSTLANG system assembles information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages from various sources. The core of AUSTLANG is the AUSTLANG database (online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages database) which is linked to Google Maps. The system also facilitates access to other databases, PDF files and links to websites, which all provides information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. AUSTLANG enables users to search for a language by a language name or a place name, or by navigating Google Maps, and to view a variety of information on the language. AUSTLANG users can also launch a catalogue search of the AIATSIS collection catalogue, MURA.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Social networking for local government

Bernard de Broglio, Internet Coordinator at Mosman Council, will give a free talk on "Dr Strangelove or: How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love The Gov", at the National Library of Australia Digital Culture talk 25 September 2009 in Canberra. He will talk about new forms of participation online for local government. My view is that local government is the most important but least resourced when it comes to Government 2.0. These techniques could also be applied to the fourth level of government in Australia (cluster housing).

Digital Culture talk

Dr Strangelove or: How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love The Gov
You can credit Barack Obama for bringing sexy back to government - it's 2.0! - but the change has largely been driven by self-organised communities collaborating across disciplines and borders. Who are these people? Well, us. Citizen activists, ethical hackers, open source public servants, digital library and museum workers. The web has allowed collaboration between people (and their machines) on a scale never possible before. Customers, constituents and people within the public sector are all beginning to feel a new sense of agency. It's not e-gov, it's we-gov. But let's not be a tease. How does it work, now? Bernard de Broglio, Internet Coordinator at Mosman Council, will share some of his stories of internet life at the local level.
Bernard studied English at university but ended up writing HTML and CSS. He has been working at Mosman Council since 2002, pushing more acronyms (okay, abbreviations) like API, XML and RSS. His interest in the social aspect of network communications was sparked by FidoNet and the Sydney BBS (Bulletin Board System) scene of the late 80s and early 90s. That early promise – of new forms of participation online – is now being realised. Based in Mosman Library, he has been fortunate to be surrounded by information professionals who understand the benefit of the open web and the need to take Council's web presence beyond its website. The cakes are good too.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Learning to stream fine music from Canberra

Greetings from the School of Music at the Australian National University in Canberra. The ANU just had its fist concert "streamed" live to the Internet from Llewellyn Hall "CLARINET.BALLISTIX Concert". This featured Alan Vivian (clarinet), David Pereira (cello, Alan Hicks and Katherine Day ( piano) with works by Verdi, Gershwin, Kats-Chernin and Bukovsky. The technology is being incorporated into the teaching of musicians, both to help teaching (with master classes by video) and as a subject the students learn about (how to set up an online event).

In addition to the live performance, the ANU web site has program notes, background, interviews, rehearsal out-takes, places for adding questions and reviews.

The ANU is essentially adapting the format of a live TV broadcast for the streaming concert. Experienced ABC Radio Classic FM presenter Colin Fox of acted as MC at the side of the stage. He briefed the live audience before the streaming started. They then introduced the Vice chancellor and other speakers. Then there was a briefing about the music and the performers.

There were two cameras apparent in the hall: one in the middle of the front of the stage and one on a crane at the side, over the audience. The ANU has obviously put a considerable effort into arrangements for the streaming. This is intended to promote new courses at the university, which go beyond just being able to play a musical instrument, but be able to cope with the complexity of providing online content and being a being in the online entertainment business.

The ANU is also installing a video conference suite for distance education in music (a challenging application which business orientated equipment can't handle). The new Bachelor of Professional Music Practice will place a heavy emphasis on the use of such technology.

At the School of Computer Science I help teach fine arts students in web technology. An interesting aspect of this is how technology, business and art combine to produce online content which is of cultural and business value. Currently I am working up a proposal for a new e-learning unit on how to interact online, to expand and teach the techniques used in the ANU course COMP7310: Green ICT Strategies. This was intended for scientists and business people, but now I see it may also be of use to the performing arts. I will be talking about some aspects of this in a series of talks in the next few months: "Social Networking for Business: The Year It All Changes - 2010",

To the audience there is little indication of the online aspects of the concert. There are no screens showing what is online. Some incorporation of the online into the live event would be of value. The ANU could adopt aspects of Senator Lundy's Public Sphere event format, with web, blogs, wikis and instant messaging, before, during and after the event. It might be interesting for some of the materials the online audience saw in advance of the work and for some of the blog comments to be shown on screen between works.

One of the works performed incorporated recorded sounds of fax modems. It might be interesting to incorporate some vision into some works possibly be interactive.

The crane camera was intrusive in the performance,at times appearing to be performing its own modern ballet, swooping in over the performers and at time apparently at times caressing them. For later performances it may be worth equipping the hall with permanent cameras. Most of the motions of the camera crane could be duplicated by multiple cameras. These could be mounted in tinted hemispherical covers, as used for security cameras, so as not to distract the performers or audience when they pan.

A permanent camera system could also be used for degree award ceremonies, so that relatives and friends could watch the ceremony. This would be particularly useful for the many overseas students, so their relatives and friends could watch.

It was an honour to sit next to the composer of one of the pieces performed (I am the one sitting next to him with the netbook). In amongst all the technology it is worth pointing out that these were works and performances of the highest standard, at least to my non-expert ears.

This first concert was an experiment which seemed to be successful. If used routinely, the cost and complexity of the initial exercise would need to be reduced. This could be done partly by building the cameras into the room and partly by using the same computer infrastructure the ANU uses for teaching. The ANU's new Wattle system is capable of being used for providing the information about the performances and the Digital Lecture Delivery system handling the audio visual files.

A concert or ceremony could then be recorded and simulcast live, much in the same way as when I routinely record a lecture: I walk up to the lectern, enter my university user-id and password. The system automatically identifies the scheduled event from the ANU calendar and starts recording. At the end of the lecture, I press "stop" and the event is podcast.

This system would need some upgrades to handle a concert performance or awards ceremony. The quality of sound would need to be improved for music. There would need to be provision for use of multiple cameras. There would need to be provision for events to be streamed live as well as recorded. But the system could be designed so that, by default, it would use the same interface as other teaching spaces.

The key to the long term use of the technology is to incorporate it into the normal research and teaching work of the university. In addition to the ANU's Wattle teaching system, there are several initiatives for indexing, publishing and archiving publications and research data. These same systems can be sued for music and visual arts. Dr David Prosser, Director of SPARC Europe, discussed this when he visited ANU last week and later talked at the NLA.

ps: The video of me at the keyboard during the performance are fake: I found that the WiFi signal did not penetrate through the concrete floor of the concert hall from the library below. I had to wait until after the performance to blog. Normally I would be expected to turn my computer off during a concert, but in this case I was asked to leave it on, as it added a hi-tech ambiance, with the camera panned the audience.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Commons on Flickr, Canberra, 4 December 2008

The National Library of Australia has a series of excellent talks on cultural aspects of the Internet. The next is by George Oates, program manager for Flickr's Commons project and former chief designer for Flickr, 4 December 2008:
Human Traffic, General Public
If there's one thing about Web 2.0, it's that we're realising that there are actually people using the internet. It's no longer about Human to Computer interaction, but rather Human to Human. The Commons on Flickr is an opportunity for Flickr members to participate in describing the world's publicly held photography collections. The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

George Oates is the program manager for Flickr's Commons project and was the former chief designer for Flickr.

George Oates will be introduced by Paul Hagon,
Web Developer, National Library of Australia
Time: 13.00 to 14.00
Date: Thursday 4 December 2008
Venue: National Library of Australia Theatre
This is a free event, open to all

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia
Tel: +61 2 6262 1542

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Broadband, libraries and the creation of Australia’s digital culture

The National Library of Australia is hosting "Broadband, libraries and the creation of Australia’s digital culture" on Tuesday 18th November 2008, 9:00 AM, NLA Theatre, in Canberra:

With the new federal government establishing a Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, maximising the potential of Australia’s digital culture has become a new strategic focus. Libraries, archives and related information agencies have a central role to play in exploiting these opportunities by helping communities and organisations – from the local to the national, and across sectors – come to grips with the possibilities that this focus on the digital world offers.

This seminar, the third in a series jointly supported by the National Library of Australia, Charles Sturt University and ALIA is intended to provide a broad overview of what this means for libraries and information agencies in strategy and in practice.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Information access in technical and scientific literature

Timothy BaldwinThe National Library of Australia runs an excellent series of free Digital Culture talks. The next is "Information access in technical and scientific literature: search and you may possibly find", 12.30, Friday 27 June 2008 at the National Library of Australia Theatre, Canberra:
The phenomenal success of web search engines such as Google is built on massive data redundancy, guiding users from simplistic queries to relevant information sources. For domains such as technical and scientific literature, however, this redundancy is severely limited, due to editorial controls on originality of content. Here there is a clear need to go beyond simple keyword search in order to service what are often complex information needs. In this talk I will present a frank and accessible account of text mining techniques developed to enhance information access, and abstract away from simple word sequences to syntactically and semantically richer representations of the information encoded in text.

Timothy Baldwin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Melbourne. His research - funded by the ARC, NICTA, NTT, Google and others - encompasses computational and theoretical linguistics, text mining, text categorisation and information retrieval. He has given invited talks at various conferences, summer schools and universities worldwide, and is the author of over 100 journal and conference publications. He is currently on the editorial board of Computational Linguistics, a series editor for CSLI Publications, and a member of the Deep Linguistic Processing with HPSG Initiative (DELPH-IN).

Timothy Baldwin will be introduced by Kent Fitch,
Programmer, IT Division, National Library of Australia
Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Date: Friday 27 June 2008
Venue: National Library of Australia Theatre
This is a free event

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Copyright and the Internet Archive, Canberra, 3 April 2008

Matthew Rimmer will be giving a free talk in Canberra, 3 April 2008, in the National Library's Digital Culture talk series on copyright law and the Internet Archive . Recommended:
Back to the future: copyright law, Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine

Dr Matthew Rimmer

Internet Archive provides free 'universal access to human knowledge' to researchers, historians, scholars and the general public. Their delightfully named Wayback Machine provides access to websites that have been significantly altered or may no longer exist. Notwithstanding this altruistic endeavour, Internet Archive has been embroiled in a number of policy debates over copyright law over the extension of copyright term, 'orphan' works, take-down notices, digital locks and large-scale digitisation projects. The Internet Archive has also been involved in litigation as a plaintiff, a defendant, and an amicus curiae (a friend of the court). In the light of such policy debate and litigation, there is a need to reform digital copyright laws so that digital libraries such as Internet Archive can flourish - without fear of disruption from copyright owners.

Dr Matthew Rimmer is a senior lecturer and the director of Higher Degree Research at the ANU College of Law, and an associate director of the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA). He holds a BA (Hons) and a University Medal in literature, and a LLB (Hons) from the Australian National University, and a PhD in law from the University of New South Wales. Rimmer is a member of the Copyright and Intellectual Property Advisory Group of the Australian Library and Information Association, and a director of the Australian Digital Alliance.

Dr Rimmer will be introduced by Laura Simes, Copyright Advisor, National Library of Australia

Date: Thursday 3 April 2008
Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Venue: Library Theatre
This talk is free and open to everyone.

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia
Tel: +61 2 6262 1542

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Public Knowledge Project, 15 February 2008, Canberra

Recommended talk at the National Library of Australia, 15 February 2008, 12.30 pm in Canberra. Kevin Stranack is from the Public Knowledge Project at the Simon Fraser University, which produced the free Open Journal System publishing software which I used to set up the Australian Computer Society digital library:
It gives me pleasure to invite you to the next Digital Culture talk:
The Public Knowledge Project: Breaking Down the Barriers to Open Access
Kevin Stranack

Are you concerned about the spiraling costs of academic journals? Do you worry that access to critical research information is under threat? This presentation will describe the work of the Public Knowledge Project, and discuss some of the steps librarians and others in Canada, Australia, and other countries around the world are taking to confront the crisis in scholarly communication, and ensure that readers and authors remain connected.

A collaboration between the University of British Columbia, Stanford University, and Simon Fraser University's Library and Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, the Public Knowledge Project has grown from a small research project into a global, community-based, open access publishing alternative, providing free, open source software for hundreds of researchers, editors, software developers, and librarians.

Kevin will be introduced by Chris Foster, Director Monographs Branch, National Library of Australia

The speakerKevin Stranack is a librarian with the Public Knowledge Project at the Simon Fraser University Library. He works with editors, publishers, software developers, and librarians in their use of open source software for open access publishing, and is the author of "OJS in an Hour", "OCS in an Hour", "Getting Found, Staying Found", and other documents published by the Project. Kevin is a frequent presenter at library and information technology conferences, including the Canadian Library Association, the British Columbia Library Association, the Charleston Conference, Access, BCNet, NetSpeed, and others.

Date: Friday 15 February 2008
Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Venue: Library Theatre
This talk is free and open to everyone. ...

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Digital Culture - Technology and Media in 2020

Digital Culture Talk
National Library of Australia

Technology and Media in 2020
Speaker: Abigail Thomas

Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Date: Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Venue: Library Theatre, NLA
Entry: Free
  • What will media and technology look like in 2020?
  • Do the seeds lie in current trends like the desire for user generated content, creativity, always-on connections and on-demand content?
  • Or should we look to science fiction to help us predict the future?
Biographical details: Abigail Thomas, Head, Strategic Innovation & Development, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Abigail Thomas has nine years’ experience within the digital and new media environment in the UK and Australia.

In her current role in the ABC’s new Innovation Division, Abigail is responsible for strategic research and development and the creation of innovative projects across the ABC which utilise new media platforms and technologies. This includes interactive television, video downloads and virtual worlds such as Second Life.

Abigail joined the ABC in 2000 and has had a number of different roles including responsibility for project managing the launch of ABC2, the ABC’s digital multichannel, overseeing audience and industry research in the new media space as well as providing policy and strategic advice on corporate issues.

Abigail also worked in the UK for the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport as Head of Commercial and Digital Broadcasting, with responsibility for government policy on the development of digital broadcasting, at a time when digital TV had just been launched in the UK. Prior to that she undertook a visiting research fellowship for the UK Government, researching digital TV developments in a number of countries (UK, Europe, US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan) and comparing government, industry and academic perspectives on the future implications of digital broadcasting and its regulation.

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia
Tel: +61 2 6262 1542
Previous talks in the Series:

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Second Life for Librarians

Australian Libraries Building in Second LifeKathryn Greenhill just finished her talk on Second Life, at the (real) National Library of Australia in Canberra. Second life is an online virtual world. Kathryn is a librarian at the (real) Murdoch University Library in Western Australia. She also co-ordinates the virtual "Australian Libraries Building" inside Second Life.

Kathryn gave an introduction to Second Life and an online tour of the Australian Libraries Building. The building is modeled on a real library, with interfaces to traditional online library resources, but done in a whimsical way.

One aspect which worried me is that Second Life is a for-profit company product. You can purchase an "island" to display your products and services. The Australian Libraries Building is on an island devoted to libraries around the world. While anyone can use second life for free, it costs real money to set up a building and it is effectively a virtual private gated community.

The interface for second life is a two dimensional rendering of a virtual 3d world. Each user of the system is represented by an Avatar; a graphical representation of the person. The avatar and the environment can be customized to look and behave differently, partly using purchased resources (using a local currency). The user interface is similar to that of a video game (but without the guns and violence, for the present).

All this made me feel old and alienated. Not being a computer games player I found the visual interface unnatural. I had difficult seeing the details and keeping up with the blurry, animated items. The overly rich visual design made me feel nauseous (much as a set of 3d goggles does after a couple of minutes use).

However, there was a great level of enthusiasm displayed by Kathryn and evidently a lot of effort being put in by other librarians. But will this translate into a mainstream product or be just for a few geeks?

At question time I asked if there was an alternative accessible interface for the blind. Kathryn didn't know and I was shocked that the audience of librarians laughed at the idea. I would have assumed that librarians would know they have a professional and legal obligation to provide services to the disabled. Not providing an interface for the blind, if is technically feasible and not too expensive, is unlawful. While Second Life may seem a virtual place, unlawful actions carried out there are within the jurisdiction of Australian courts (I had to do an expert witness report for an international online libel case a few days ago).
Correction 15 February 2007: Above I wrote that the audience of librarians laughed at my suggestion there should be an alternative accessible interface for the blind. Someone else there says they were laughing at were the antics of the avatars on the screen, behind the speaker, not at my question. My apologies to the audience if this was the case.
Another audience member asked a question about the bandwidth needed for the interface. Apparently the graphical interface required a lot of bandwidth. This would seem a fruitful area for IT research. It should be possible to optimize the the system to reduce the bandwidth needed and provide an interface for the blind at the same time. I might set it as an ANU e-Science project for the students to do.

This talk was one in the excellent NLA Digital Culture series. Unfortunately the NLA doesn't have a public web page about the series. But the next time they email me an invitation I will blog it.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Second Life, 14 February 2007, Canberra

Australian Libraries Building in Second LifeThis is in the same series as Vic Elliott's talk on academic publishing. Recommended:
NLA Digital Culture talks:

Flying Librarians of Oz: What's the fuss about Second Life and what's it got to do with libraries?

Second Life is an online virtual community created by its residents and run by Linden Labs. Over two million people have registered: Dell Computing, Adidas, Harvard Law School and the United States Congress all have a presence there. ...

Kathryn Greenhill, a librarian at Murdoch University Library in Western Australia, co-ordinates the Australian Libraries Building. She will provide a guided tour of the Australian Libraries Building and discuss some of the benefits to librarians of having a Second Life.

Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Date: Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Venue: Library Theatre
Entry: Free
Speaker: Kathryn Greenhill, Librarian, Murdoch University Library, Western Australia
Introduced by Matthew Stuckings, Reader Services Branch, National Library of Australia

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Using eBay for PM's Center at Parliament House, NLA, 31 October 2006

Recommended free talk at NLA. No need to book, just turn up (the last talk on Wikipedia at NLA was good):

Digital Culture Series at the National Library of Australia

Speaker: Michael Richards, Senior Historian, Old Parliament House
Topic: New ways of collecting at Old Parliament House
Time: 12.30 to 13.30 on Tuesday, 31 October 2006
Place: Library Theatre, National Library of Australia

Michael Richards talks about Old Parliament House’s collecting interests and how eBay is relevant to the institution in the current environment, particularly with the development of the Prime Minister’s Centre.

Michael Richards is a historian, librarian and keen student of theology (in his spare time). He curated many exhibitions during a twelve year stint at the National Library, beginning in 1988 with ‘People, Print & Paper’, the Library’s touring bicentennial exhibition. Michael has also worked in Manuscripts and as a cataloguer at the Library.

Since 1998 Michael has worked at Old Parliament House (OPH) in a variety of roles, and is currently Senior Historian, with responsibility for collection development. He also manages a small research centre and the oral history program at OPH.

Michael studied at the University of Queensland and James Cook University, where he wrote an MA thesis on the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Michael will be introduced by Linda Groom, Curator of Pictures, National Library of Australia
This is a free public event